How Writing a Book Can Help You Deal with Life

It’d be awesome to be able to say I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’d be lying. I’d always liked to write, but it wasn’t until later that I accepted wholeheartedly that there wasn’t anything else I’d rather do. And while the thought of being asked for autographs, having my name on something important and attending fancy conferences was quite enticing, none of those things were what made me fall in love with the idea of writing a novel.

None of those things have happened yet, mind you. And that’s the point, because the greatest benefit of writing I’ve already reaped, and continue to reap every day.

Yes, my own words are my most efficient therapist.

Once upon a time, I was a 12-year old who had just finished reading the Twilight saga (Yes, Twilight). And I discovered something amazing. While I was reading, I could disappear into another world. As long as I kept sifting through pages, my mind would become disconnected from reality. It wasn’t a good reality. I was dealing with self-esteem issues, still reeling from a year of bullying, and the common problems of those years.

So, I dreamed up Samantha. She could control air and she was sassy and powerful, and The One.

Three years later, in high school, I was just mad. I now had an inkling of how the world worked and I did not like it. Extroverts rule the world, you’ve got to go to parties to be cool, crushes might just be called that way because they crushed your heart…

So, I dreamed up Blaze. Dragons had gifted her with fire powers. She had an attitude, and she didn’t hold it back. She didn’t care about what others thought about her. People noticed her, and love wasn’t her priority. She wanted to save the world, but more importantly, wanted it to deserve saving.

Shortly after I started college, another girl appeared. I was juggling my now existent -albeit minimal- social life with blogging, writing, family, sleep and college itself. I was mad about how the education system treated creatives. How they encourage them in infancy, suppress them all the way to college even, and then expect them to magically do wonderful things again. I began to feel more conscious about the finity of my life. Of what I wanted to do with it, and how I was absolutely certain that I didn’t want to let it just walk by and be along for the ride. I wanted to grab the steering wheel and leave so many tire marks that everyone would know where I’d been.

So, I dreamed up Ariadne. She’s kind and determined, a little selfish even, but that’s because she just get things done. And she likes to write. In a world where she’s forbidden to do so. A world that rejects unchecked creativity so much that people have been killed for the crime of telling, or heaven forbid, writing stories.

This world kind of rings a bell.

Anyway. I never intended for Sam to help me understand I was important, or Blaze to tell me that I could do things, or even Ariadne to tell me that I had to do things. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized that. That they’d helped me all the same.

You don’t even do it consciously. Your real-life problems just bleed onto the page, and you can only hope it will someday heal you, seeing those pieces stitching together, one word at a time.

Churning out blog posts is hard. Writing a book is even harder. It’s a commitment, to yourself, and your characters. They help you deal with your baggage, and you tell their story so that they may help someone else.

Writing is about having something to say. If you’re human, then there’s plenty you might want to say. So much, that you need to create whole other worlds to contain it all.

And believe me, there are people out there who need to hear it.

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